Editorial | Take care of yourself during finals

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

We all know the feeling of impending doom that comes as finals week approaches. Everything besides school gets thrown out the window with many students barely eating, sleeping or seeing friends. Students spend all of their time in Hillman or locked in their dorm rooms finishing essays, studying and cramming all the information needed to finish the semester.

This isn’t what finals week should look like. While it’s essential to spend the proper amount of time studying, physical and mental health should always be a priority for students, especially during finals season. The stress and pressure that many students put on themselves to get perfect grades are unfair, and people should treat themselves with kindness when studying. 

Many students try to pull all-nighters to finish studying and try to learn every bit of information they can before the exam. Sleep is extremely important to our health. Not getting enough sleep raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and dementia. Having good sleep can even have a positive effect on one’s exam scores. A study from Baylor University shows that students who had eight hours of sleep the night before an exam scored higher than those who pulled all-nighters. Most importantly, sleep is something that is important for our self-care and it shouldn’t be neglected to get good exam grades.

As the weather gets colder and the sun goes down sooner right while we begin to prepare for exams, mental health often gets pushed to the back burner. Between the added stress that finals and grades bring and the influx of seasonal depression symptoms, many people struggle this time of year. While finals are important, mental health is way more important. Between studying, everyone should take time to talk to a friend or do something they love to make sure that they are treating their mental health as a priority. Pitt also provides resources such as counseling that can help if your mental health becomes harder to manage.

Stress also tends to increase in students around finals week. One study conducted by MentalHelp in 2016 found that 31% of college students’ biggest stressors were final exams. Reducing stress is extremely important for our health, which, in the grand scheme of things, is more important than final exams — health is our priority. To reduce stress around finals, make sure to take breaks, go outside and try to prepare early to make the actual exams less stressful.

The most important thing to remember during finals season is to treat yourself gently. School is important, but it isn’t the most important thing in your life. It’s okay if your grades aren’t the best or if you tried your hardest but still fell short. Your employer isn’t going to care about one lackluster grade you received, and your future isn’t riding on it. Make sure to take care and be kind to yourself this finals season — that is what matters most for your future.